Arnold Kling  

Friend or Foe?

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I am cited by, of all people, David Brooks, for coining the term "progressive corporatism." I guess it goes down easier than "liberal fascism." My original post is here.

Should I be happy or unhappy with the way I appear in his column?


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (6 to date)
Randy writes:

I can live with liberal corporatism, but for the record, progressive fascism is more accurate. These folks aren't really liberals (classical), they're progressives - that is, people who believe in the power of the state to create a "better" world. And they're not corporatists, they're fascists. Their core belief is that "the people", "society", and "the state" are one and indivisible, and that the individual is therefore subordinate to the state. Their use of state controlled (if not directly operated) corporations is an element of the core belief and not an end in itself.

Urstoff writes:

You were also quoted by the BBC this morning in a discussion with Martin Wolf and the editor of WSJ-Europe/Asia.

Garrett Schmitt writes:

I'd be happy with the way you get to conclude his piece. He's tipping his hat to you for offering a concise definition for the likely future trend of things. Really, he should be happy to admit that he's helping you get started on this:

Homework: write an essay on how this model explains the latest actions of the government in the financial crisis.

All of this, as a matter of course, should not at all imply that he agrees with any of your prescriptions, hopes, or dreams. However, if there's any comfort to be had in national commentators admitting to sharing some elements of your objective appraisal of reality, I suggest taking that comfort.

B.H. writes:

We need to get away from these simple categories: you are either a libertarian or else a fascist of either the corporatist or communist type. Those are valid categories, but they are not the entire game.

"Paleoconservatives" of the Russell Kirk or George Will variety don't fit either libertarian or fascist categories. Nor do "social democrats" of the Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or JFK type fit the categories.

Brooks is right that the screaming populists of Left (John Edwards) or Right (Pat Buchanan) are irrelevant. The "supply siders" and "gold bugs" have nothing to contribute to the current debate. And the Austrians would say liquidate the banks and insurance companies, serves them right. That is a non-starter. Sometimes a society needs its Elders, the wise grey heads who have the experience and insight to navigate difficult times. Babyboomers who have distrusted the Elders need to learn that lesson.

bgc writes:

Most people would infer that you approved of progressive corporatism, I think.

Maybe Progressive Corproatism will be the new definition of 'P.C.' - at any rate it sounds to me like the UK from the mid-1960s up to Mrs Thatcher in 1979 - a recipe for economic decline, union power, inflation, sclerosis. Un-American.

The above is not what the advocates of the new PC want, but it is what they will get. I believe that the Brad DeLong type leftist technocrats have a world view which is simply wishful thinking, because it implicitly denies the power of incentives.

Randy writes:

B.H.

Re; Simple categories. I think the term fascism is completely accurate, and not just a "simple category". In fact, I think it is precisely the correct term for those who believe that the individual is subordinate to the state. People hesitate to use the word because it conjures up images of militarism, but hey, the US does have the most powerful military in the world, and is hardly shy about using it. The militarism of the fascist states of the 1930's was a forseeable consequence of the belief that the state is supreme - and it is a forseeable consequence of that same belief in American Progressive Fascism as well.

As for the boomers not trusting their elders. Why should we trust them? It was our elders who turned America into a fascist state.

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